Wednesday, 25 April 2012
I am a divorced woman in my 40's. About 6 months after my separation, I began seeing a man who had been a friend of mine for 10 years. He is wonderful and I love and trust him.He is friends with a woman who is married and calls him frequently and has stopped by his house numerous times. Her husband has no idea that she has been "friends" with my guy for the last 10-12 years and that at one time about 8 years ago, they had contemplated an affair. While it never escalated to that level, she has been carrying on an emotional affair with him ever since (or so it seems to me).When she learned about my marital split, she approached my guy...let's call him "Steve." She immediately brought the subject of my separation up and was quite harsh in her judgment of me to him, and jumped to the defense of my ex-husband.
After Steve and I began seeing one another, he told her that he was excited to be moving into a relationship with me, that he saw me as the "love of his life" and the one for him. She was incredulous and repeated back to him, "The One? What to you mean The One?" She then went on to say that if he felt that way about me, she was afraid that they wouldn't be able to be friends anymore. To which he said "that would never happen, my S/O accepts that we are friends." And, I did accept it at the time, but numerous things have happened since we've been together which have caused me to question her motivations.
Very early in our relationship, I asked him what the nature of their friendship was. I always felt that her body language toward him was very flirtatious and thought it odd that she always went, and continues to go out of her way to create an image of the two of them as being very tight. It is clear that she wants people to think that she is his first and foremost confidant and that she is all-knowing when it comes to him.Initially, she was calling him about 3-4 times per week (when her husband left the house), and would end messages with "Love you!" The shit hit the fan when she stopped over at his house one afternoon last fall. I let Steve know that it really bothered me that a married woman who hides their relationship from her husband, and who clearly does not want me in his life, has the nerve to cross that boundary, and that I felt very disrespected by both of them. I was especially angry at him for not setting boundaries to begin with. To his credit, he did tell her she could not come to his home again which infuriated her.In an effort to straighten the situation, I suggested that things would be more comfortable if she and I could get to know one another individually. So, I extended an invitation to get together for coffee. She said no. During that conversation, she told me I needed to be more secure in my relationship, and that I was an unapproachable person.
She told me that she had to tell HIM that if it came to making a choice between us, he had to choose his partner (implying that he would not have concluded that on his own). Basically, she ranted on about my insecurity in an extraordinarily condescending manner. Regrettably, I did not defend myself during that conversation because I wanted to make this an agreeable situation for everyone and knew that arguing wouldn't help matters.Then, as my relationship with Steve flourished (he was demonstrative with his affection toward me in her presence) and he continued to speak highly of me to her, she stopped acting so superior and began calling a bit less (once or twice per week).Since then, things have been tense, at best. Steve and I have talked about this numerous times, it makes us both crazy. For him because he knows his feelings for her are not romantic in nature and he doesn't want to hurt her by ending their friendship. He genuinely feels bad for her life circumstances, and quite frankly, I do too. For me it is frustrating because their relationship is exclusive of me.
She only calls when she knows I won't be there and she confides all her woes to him and expects him not to betray her confidences to me. Here's the thing, I don't need to know her most personal issues, it is none of my business, but I resent that when he tells me she called, the conversation ends there. I say how is she and he says "good." That's it. I am not sure if I feel more angry at her for censoring what he can tell me or him for enabling the exclusivity of the friendship by keeping her confidences. I just know that it feels soooo uncomfortable and almost impossible to fathom living with indefinitely.
Every other time he speaks with a friend (male or female), they ALWAYS ask how I am and insist that he tell me hi for them etc. In other words, it is a NORMAL relationship in which those friends are not acting in their own self-interest and are instead, very happy for him and the happiness he has found. This is important to note, NONE of his other female friendships bother me in the least. If anything, I love that he is so sensitive, validating and reassuring. Just wish he'd table it with the woman who would like to undermine me in his life.
In the most recent conversation they had, he told her that their friendship, which is exclusive of me, cannot go on this way and that she needs to accept me in his life. She says she understands this and that it will all work out in time. The thing is, how? Nothing changes.
I guess at this point I'm wondering, should I continue to move forward with this relationship knowing that she will not go away, and that it will be a constant bone of contention? Or do I leave the man that I really love to escape how upsetting the whole thing is?
That he doesn't see how profoundly this is sabotaging our relationship and is not "manning up" on this one leaves me feeling somewhat betrayed.